"Fellowship in the Light"
1 John 1:5-10
(First delivered Sunday, November 4, 2001 at Bethany Bible Church. All scripture quotes, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version.)
I was first introduced to the idea that I could enjoy a personal fellowship with Jesus Christ by a youth leader in my old church in Seattle. I was 17 years old, and still a brand new Christian when I met him. He was ten years my elder; and I was deeply impressed with his love for Jesus. He seemed to almost glow with a love and fellowship with the Savior; and he taught me much about what that fellowship means.
He told me about a time when he was going to take a ride on his motorcycle. He took the idea of fellowship with Jesus so seriously, that he prayed, "Lord, let's go for a ride together." He said, "Greg; I had a great time riding with the Lord - just Him and me. But sometimes, I like to ride fast - faster than I should, actually. I started to really crank it up; and I was exceeding the speed limit. And as I'm having fun speeding along, I felt the Lord's sadness with what I was doing. I almost forgot that He was with me; and I felt as if I could see Him hanging His head in disappointment, because I was doing something that I shouldn't be doing. It was hurting my fellowship with Jesus. And so, I slowed back down, and asked the Lord's forgiveness for going too fast. And He forgave me. He always does; because if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And I don't want to do things that hurt my fellowship with Jesus."
The youth leader told me this story almost thirty years ago, but I still remember it. It had a tremendous impact on my early concept of the Christian life. And even though today I still can't say that I do everything I should, I do carry with me a sense of how my sinful actions grieve the Lord and hinder my fellowship with Him. And I, like that youth leader, don't want to do things that hurt my fellowship with Jesus.
In his first New Testament letter, the apostle John was writing about that fellowship. It's a fellowship not only with Jesus and with His Father, but a fellowship with all of our brothers and sisters in Christ who also love Him. John wanted very much for his readers to experience this fellowship to the full.
I suppose there couldn't have been a greater "specialist" in the area of fellowship with Jesus than the apostle John. He loved Jesus very much; and enjoyed fellowship with Him very deeply. He was with Jesus at some of the most personal times of our Lord's earthly ministry (Mark 14:33); and he stood out as one among His choicest servants (Luke 22:8). John didn't even use his own name when writing about himself in his gospel; all he felt worthy enough to do was to identify himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved". During Jesus' last supper with His disciples, John sat next to Him and ate with Him; and John even reclined with his head resting on Jesus' bosom as they dined together (John 13:23). When all the other disciples had deserted Jesus at His arrest, John was among the few who lingered off on the side-lines with Him (John 18:15-16). John was even present with Jesus as He hung on the cross. As Jesus was dying on the cross, He entrusted his own mother to John's care; and entrusted John to Mary's care as well (19:25-27). After Jesus rose from the dead, John was the first disciple to run to the empty tomb (20:2-4). I don't believe any other disciple enjoyed the depth of intimacy with Jesus, while He walked upon this earth, that John enjoyed with Him.
And now that He is raised from the dead, John introduces us to the remarkable truth that you and I can now enjoy deep, intimate fellowship with the Savior that he enjoyed. He makes this clear to us in the first four verses of his little letter. The rest of his letter is occupied with teaching us the principles of experiencing this fellowship to the full. And the first principle we encounter is the principle that my former youth leader passed on to me so early in my Christian faith. John writes;
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us (1 John 1:5-10).
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When John wrote this letter, he was partially motivated to write because the church was dealing with a problem. A terrible false teaching - a philosophy, really - had crept in to the church, and was affecting God's people in such a way as to cause harm to their fellowship with Jesus. John was very concerned about it; and you can see his concern pop up here and there in his letter. He says such things as, "These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you" (2:27); or "Little children, let no one deceive you" (3:7). He warns that his readers, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (4:1).
This phony philosophy is hard to pin down, because it took many forms. But most Bible scholars refer to it by the general name 'gnosticism' - a name that many of its adherents took from the Greek word for "knowledge". This teaching boasted of a "secret knowledge" that basically borrowed its ideas from Greek philosophy and Asian mystery religions; and its teachers were attempting to mix these things with the Christian faith. It was very much like the ways New Age teaching sometimes creeps into Christian churches today.
The gnostics taught some things that had the ring of truth; and that's a part of what made their teaching so dangerous. They taught that we're not just physical beings; but that we're also spiritual beings - and of course, that's certainly true. And they taught that our physical aspects and our spiritual aspects are in conflict with one another; and we've all certainly felt that at times. (After all, who among us hasn't felt the tension that Jesus spoke of when He said, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" [Matthew 26:41]?) But the gnostics emphasized the spiritual aspect so much that they separated it from the physical; and they taught that true spirituality was unrelated to what one does in the body.
This false dichotomy between the body and the spirit expressed itself many heretical beliefs in John's day - and sometimes, we see it manifest itself in some of the distorted theologies of our own day. One particular form of gnosticism led to a heresy in the church that, historically, came to be called "Docetism." Docetism comes from the Greek word that means "to seem to be," and it taught that Jesus was an alien messenger from the spiritual world who came to awaken truly wise people to their spiritual destiny. They taught that He didn't really come to earth in a human body that could die on the cross, because that would mean that the holy God mingled with a sinful human flesh - an idea that was absolutely repugnant to the gnostics. Instead, the docetic gnostics taught that the Son of God only "seemed" to have a human body.
Such a heresy would then teach the false doctrine that the Son of God didn't become a human being like us; and thus, couldn't die for our sins. But John shows no mercy at all to this heresy. He writes, "By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world" (4:2-3). Docetism wasn't simply another way of looking at Jesus. All philosophies or religions like Docetism that deny that Jesus came in the flesh are, fundamentally, "antichrist" philosophies down to the very core.
Another form of heresy which gnosticism gave birth to has been historically called "Cerinthianism"; so called after its main proponent Cerinthus. Cerinthus was a man who lived at the time of John; and who even apparently wrote forged letters as if from the apostle John (see Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, xxviii, 6). He was going around teaching that it was impossible that the Son of God could walk about in human flesh. Instead, Cerinthus taught that "Jesus" and "the Christ" were two different things. He said that Jesus was a human being just like us - born not of a virgin, but of Joseph and Mary in the ordinary way. Cerinthus taught that Jesus was a very righteous and wise man; but only a man and nothing more. And then, at His baptism, "the Christ" - an anointing from God - descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove; and thus Jesus was enabled to temporarily serve as the Son of God, proclaim God the Father to us, and perform great miracles. And since "the Christ" came from heaven and could never suffer death as a human being can, He left Jesus while He was dying on the cross.
And so, that's how Cerinthus tried to make the gnostic dichotomy between the body and the spirit work out in the experience of Jesus. He simply tried to make the man "Jesus" and the anointing - "the Christ" - two different things. And of course, this would lead to the false doctrine that Jesus wasn't really the Son of God at all, and that the Son of God didn't really become a human being and die on the cross for our sins.
But John also attacked this heresy in his letter. He said in as clear of terms as possible, "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also" (2:22-23). Any teaching that denies that Jesus and the Christ are one and the same, and denies that the Son and the Father are two different Persons, and denies that the Son of God became a man to reconcile us to His Father, is also an "antichrist" teaching.
John was very concerned about these false doctrines about Christ; and he had some very good reasons for being concerned. For one thing, they denied the truths that your and my salvation depend on. They denied that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man, with both natures - unmixed and unmingled - in one Person forever. Those things need to be true in order for Him to be our Savior; but those false teachers denied them. That's part of the reason John spoke against them so strongly.
And because gnostic teaching elevated our spiritual side and devalued our physical side, one of the results of its philosophy was that it taught that our spirit was unaffected by what we did in our body. Gnositcs believed that those who were truly "in the know" operated under a different principle of morality than common people. They were the truly spiritual "elite" and knew - or so they thought - that nothing that is done in the body could have any impact on the condition of their spirit. With just a moment's reflection, you can just imagine what depths of immorality and sinful behavior that idea could have led to. And, of course, it did.
John dealt with this aspect of gnosticism in his letter. He said, "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (3:2-3). He said, "Whoever abides in Him does not sin" [and here, John is speaking of "sin" as a regular, on-going life-style pattern]. "Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning" (vv. 6-7).
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Now you may think we're spending way too much time talking about an ancient heresy that could only be of interest to boring historians. But it's not that way at all. The things that John wrote about have a direct relevance to you and me.
Many people today, who profess to be followers of Jesus, practice a modern kind of "gnosticism" that makes it absolutely impossible for them to have fellowship with Him. They believe that, because they have prayed a prayer once long ago to ask Jesus into their hearts, or because they came forward at an evangelistic meeting, or because they were baptized in a church, that their spirits have been made right with God; and that now, they can walk about in spiritual fellowship with Jesus and yet continue to behave with their bodies in the very sins that Jesus died to save them from. They look at their profession of faith in Jesus as a kind of "fire insurance"; it keeps them out of hell, but it doesn't demand that they live a heavenly life in practice. They believe that their spirits are acceptable to God; and that it no longer matters that they still walk about in practical adherence to their old sinful ways. They believe that their spiritual condition is unaffected by the sinful things they do in the body.
What John said to his first century readers applies to us too; and it means that many people today who profess to be followers of Jesus, in reality, are deceiving themselves about their true condition. They claim to have fellowship with Jesus, and may even believe very sincerely that they do; when in reality, the sinful life-style practices that they continue to cling to make it impossible for them to enter into the fellowship with Jesus that He wants them to enjoy.
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Are you one of these modern-day gnostics? John wrote this letter so that you might genuinely have genuine fellowship with Jesus and with His Father, and with all the members of His redeemed family. But the declaration of John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is that this fellowship is absolutely impossible so long as you hang on to sinful life-style practices and behavior patterns.
It's time to face the truth, turn from sin, and enter into a genuine fellowship with God through Jesus Christ. This passage teaches us how to begin. First, notice that John makes an all-important affirmation about the nature and character of God Himself. If you want to have true fellowship with God, then you must begin with the truth about Him. John asserts that ...
I. GOD HIMSELF IS LIGHT (v. 5).
"This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you," John says; "that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all."
"Light" is a figure in the Bible for many things that are true about God. In terms of what might be seen with the eyes, we can say that "light" is a figure for God's resplendent glory. The apostle Paul said that the Lord Jesus alone dwells in "unapproachable light" (1 Tim. 6:16). The Bible tells us that the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, will have no need for the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God will illuminate it. "The Lamb is its lamp" (Rev. 21:23).
In terms of of what might be known with the mind, we can say that "light" is a figure for God's revealed spiritual truth. Daniel wrote that God "reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him" (Dan. 2:22); and the psalmist prayed, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105). Paul wrote, "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6).
But here, in a moral sense, John uses light as a figure for God's purity and holiness. He has no darkness of sin in Him. James says that He is "the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning" (James 1:17). John is speaking of "light" in this moral sense when he says "God is light".
John says that this message that "God is light" was a message that he and the other disciples heard from Jesus, and that they now declare to us. But when did they hear this from Jesus? This specific affirmation about God isn't recorded as having come from the lips of Jesus.
Many Bible commentators suggest - and I believe rightly so - that it wasn't something that Jesus specifically said about His Father that John was quoting, as much as what Jesus generally revealed and taught about His Father. Jesus, in His own life, showed us that God His Father is light, and that in Him is no moral darkness at all. Jesus Himself lived on this earth without sin; and His accusers could find no sin in Him. He said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does ..." (John 5:19-20).
Just like Jesus' life, the testimony of Scripture also pointed to God as one who is Himself "light" and in whom is no darkness at all. When Isaiah saw the Lord in a vision, high and lifted up, he said that he heard the angelic beings around God's throne declaring, in a three-fold affirmation, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory." And when he saw God in His majesty holiness, Isaiah cried out; "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts" (Isa. 6:5). When Isaiah saw the brilliant light of God's majesty holiness and sinless purity, it exposed his own sin; an he cried out in despair at his own sinfulness. And as John points out in his gospel, it was the pre-incarnate glory of Jesus Himself that Isaiah saw (John 12:41). And like Isaiah, when the apostle Peter came to realize who Jesus was, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!!" (Luke 5:8).
Many people heard Jesus teach in the days when He walked upon the earth; but because of their commitment to sin, they neither fell down before Him in repentance, nor placed their trust in Him as Savior. And so, He once told those who listened to Him, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light" (John 12:35-36). Jesus was presenting Himself to them as God's light on earth. "In Him was life," John said, "and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). The things that Jesus revealed and taught about His Father are summed up in this affirmation: "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all."
Many people don't realize that the first step in having fellowship with God is that we understand the truth about Him. He isn't sinful like us. He doesn't have a tolerant attitude toward unholiness like we often do. The constant testimony of the Scriptures is this: God says, "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy" (Lev. 19:2). He is Himself, by nature, the very light of holiness; and there isn't even one speck of darkness in Him. If we would truly have fellowship with Him, then the first thing we need to understand is that God is an absolutely, unspeakably holy God.
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If this is true, then the next thing we need to know in order to have fellowship with God is that ...
II. WE MUST WALK IN LIGHT TO HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM (v. 6-7).
John goes on to say, "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."
The details of what John says in the original language are very important here. He uses the present tense for the verbs of action in these two verses; and the present tense describes an ongoing practice or behavior. In other words, John is saying that if we claim that we have ongoing fellowship with God and yet walk in darkness as an ongoing practice of life, we ongoingly lie and do not ongoingly practice the truth.
That's important to point out, because all of us occasionally fall into sin; and if it were a matter of being excluded from fellowship with God because of any sin at all, none of us would ever have fellowship with Him. But this isn't talking about those times when we occasionally fall into sin. John is speaking here of the continual, sinful lifestyle practices of a man or woman who has no relationship with God - no matter what they may say. When someone has an ongoing lifestyle that is characterized by lying, or by stealing, or by sex outside of marriage, or by adultery, or by greed, or by hatred of others, it's impossible for them to have any kind of fellowship with God. God not only "is" light, but He is "in" light. He lives in complete consistency with what He is; and will not deny His own character and being in order to have fellowship with people who refuse to repent of sin.
But notice that John goes on to say - using the same present tense - that if we walk in the light as an ongoing practice of life, as God is ongoingly in the light, then we have ongoing fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus ongoingly cleanses us from all sin.
We have all sinned. But people who have truly sinned, and yet who "walk in the light as He is in the light", can enjoy fellowship with Him. Paul wrote about this. He said,
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleaness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says, "Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light" (Eph. 5:1-14).
We're not going to escape the reality of sin in our lives until we are in heaven. Until then, we will all have times when we stumble and fall. But the difference that John is speaking of is between someone whose life is characterized by an ongoing walk in a sinful lifestyle, and someone whose life is characterized by an ongoing walk in the light of God's holiness. The former denies his or her sin; and for them, fellowship with God is impossible. The latter allows God's holiness to shine the spotlight on the sin in his or her life, causing them to fall down before Him in confession and repentance. And they are the ones that walk in fellowship with God. People who walk in the light never achieve sinless perfection in this life; but they continually allow God to expose the sin in their lives, and continually trust Him to help them turn from those sins.
May I suggest a way to test whether or not you're walking in fellowship with Jesus Christ in the light? Ask yourself; has your fellowship with Jesus demanded that you change? Has it led to you giving up sinful behaviors in your life and forced you to make some significant changes in your lifestyle practices?
You see, God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. If you are going to have fellowship with Him, then it means that one of the two parties in the relationship has to change - and it will never be Him. Have you found that you've been the one changing? - not, of course, that you've become perfect; but that you're progressively changing, and becoming more like the person God wants you to be? Have you found that you have been increasingly walking in light before Him? Have you found that you're feeling bad about the sins in your life, and are now bothered by things that you weren't bothered by before? Do you find that you are progressively leaving old sinful life-style practices behind; and that you continually "press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14)?
Or does the fact that you live in just the same way as you always did reveal that nothing has really changed, and that you're kidding yourself when you say you have fellowship with God?
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We see a logical progression in all this. John says that to have fellowship with God, we must first admit the truth about Him - that He is light, and that there is no darkness in Him at all. And then, we have to understand the consequence of that fact - that if we would really have fellowship with God, we must walk in the light as He is in the light.
And so, how do we begin? What do we do to walk in the light? This leads us to John's final point: that ...
III. WE WALK IN LIGHT THROUGH CONFESSING OUR SINS (vv. 8-10).
I read recently about a minister who was preaching rather strongly on the subject of sin. After the service, someone walked up and said, "We don't want you to talk so plainly about sin; because if our boys and girls hear you mention it, they'll be more easily tempted to become sinners. Call such things 'mistakes' if you want; but don't speak so bluntly about sin."
The minister - and I can't help but think he must have been prepared in advance - brought out a bottle that was clearly marked "strychnine" and said, "I see what you want me to do. You want me to change the label. Suppose I take off this label and put on some toned-down label such as 'peppermint candy'? Can't you see the danger? The milder you make the label, the more deadly you make the poison."
One of the things that most stands in the way of people entering into fellowship with God is a refusal to admit the truth about their condition; and to acknowledge the truth about the harmful nature of the sin in their lives. When they read the Bible, or they hear a sermon, or someone talks to them; and through these means, the Holy Spirit shows them the sin in their lives, they dismiss it. They let themselves off the hook. They say that they're not so bad; or that other people are way worse off than they are; or that those things aren't really a problem - they're just "mistakes".
John says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (v. 8). He doesn't say that we're simply mistaken, but rather that "we deceive ourselves". We really don't deceive anyone else when we say that we've never sinned. Other people know that we're sinners; we just deceive ourselves. And John doesn't say that we simply don't understand the truth, but rather that the truth from God isn't even in us.
I remember preaching at a retirement center once during Good Friday. I was telling the folks there about the cross of Jesus, and of how the fact that the Son of God had to come and die for us reveals the depth of our need. I stressed that the cross doesn't pay a compliment to us at all; but rather forces us to come to grips with the fact that we're in such desperate straits because of sin that only the death of the Son of God could save us. It shows that we're all sinners, and need to be saved from our sins.
Someone told me later that, while I was preaching - way in the back - there was an old man who sat with his arms crossed, scowling in anger. "Why is he telling us all this?" the old man muttered. "I'm not a lousy sinner! I've never been a sinner!" But he was lying to himself. The fact is that we all are sinners. That old man may not have been a "lousy sinner"; in fact, he may have been a very good one. But the fact remains that we're all sinners; because God has said so. The Bible says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23).
Look at verse 10. John goes on to say, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." If we refuse to admit the truth; if we refuse to recognize that we have sinned, and that we do have sin in our lives even now; then we can't even make the first step toward having genuine fellowship with God. Fellowship with God is impossible until we admit the truth. Otherwise, we deceive ourselves, the truth is not in us. We dare to call God a liar (because He says that we have sinned), and His word isn't in us.
In his gospel, John spoke of this. He may have recorded for us the very words of Jesus Himself, or these words may be John's own summarization of Jesus' teaching; but John 3:19-21 says,
And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come into the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. but he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.
The first step toward genuine fellowship with Jesus, then - and all the fullness of joy that comes from that fellowship - is to admit the truth. We must come clean with God about our sin. John says, "But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (v. 9).
When someone has offended us, or done some harm to us, we would find it very hard to enter into fellowship with them so long as they keep denying the truth. But once they admit that they've offended us and done us harm, and they accept our verdict on the matter and ask our forgiveness, then we can forgive them and enter into fellowship with them. And God is no different in His fellowship with us. Do you know what "confession" means? It means, literally, to say the same thing as God says about our sin. We need to call our sin what He says it is. That's how we begin to walk in the light as He is in the light. We stop hiding from His moral spotlight, and we step into its beam and allow the sin in our lives to be exposed for what it really is. And look at the wonderful promise he makes when we confess our sins to Him; He is faithful and just to forgive those sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God is "faithful" in the sense that He has promised to welcome every humble sinner that comes to Him, and to forgive their every sin. He has promised, "I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jer. 31:34). And He is also "just" in doing so. If He simply ignored the sin, and said, "Oh, that's alright. Don't worry about it;" then He'd cease to be holy, and He wouldn't be "just" in the way He dealt with our sin. But as John says, if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, then "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (v. 7). He doesn't simply ignore the sin; rather, He dealt with it "justly" - giving His own Son to die on the cross for those sins. When we confess our sins to Him, the blood of Jesus - already shed for those sins - cleanses us from them. All of them! And so, God can be both "faithful" and "just" to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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How about you? Would you like to enter into fellowship with Jesus? Jesus wants that fellowship with you very much. But He is very holy, just as His Father is holy. His Father is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. And the only way you can have fellowship with God is by stepping into the beam of His holy light. You begin by confessing your sin to Him; and allowing Him to forgive your sin and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.
Perhaps you've known the Lord for many years; but you've lost a sense of fellowship with Him because of some sin in your life. Perhaps you feel that loss of fellowship right now. The place to begin is to confess your sin. Tell Him the truth; and ask His forgiveness. He will forgive you immediately; and you can once again have the joy of His fellowship restored to you.
Or perhaps you've never trusted Jesus as your Savior at all. Perhaps the idea that you could have fellowship with Him is something completely new to you. You too can begin today to enjoy fellowship with the one who made you. Begin in the same way; confess your sin to Him, admit that your sins have separated you from Him. Thank Him that Jesus died to pay for those sins and take them away, and ask Him to begin today to make you the man or woman He wants you to be.
Fellowship with God demands that we walk in the light as He is in the light. May we, by God's marvelous grace, step into His light today, and begin to experience the ever expanding joys that come from fellowship with Him.
(copyright 2001 by Pastor Greg Allen and Bethany Bible Church. Reproduction without permission, in whole or in part, is prohibited.)
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